This story appears in the March 30, 2015, issue of Sports Illustrated. Subscribe to the magazine here.
When professional athletes amble off the field for good, their decadeslong sense of purpose often fades as well. At that juncture, says former Bengals tight end Tony McGee, they can be sorted into three strata: those with nothing going on, those with too much going on and those who have their futures all figured out.
When McGee, 43, hung up his cleats in early 2004, he imagined himself in that rarefied last group. His evidence: a gig with ESPN’s Cold Pizza and a sports radio talk show in Orlando, where he also held stakes in a restaurant and a sports complex. Soon he learned that he was really in with the spread-thin lot. “When you have all this stuff going on, you can’t concentrate on any one thing,” says McGee, still fit at 6’4″ and 220 pounds, over chicken tacos at a lakeside Orlando restaurant. “I was the quintessential jack-of-all, master of none.”
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